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    More than an Honor

    USS Chung-Hoon Command Master Chief

    Photo By Petty Officer 1st Class Devin Langer | 200820-N-LI768-1004 PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 20, 2020) - USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) Command...... read more read more

    A vessel cuts through the water, unbothered by the flowing waves. Amongst the decks of the 16-year-old warship are Sailors from all walks of life. Ignoring the constant hum of airflow and gas-turbine engines, they perform their various rolls to accomplish the mission-at-hand. They all work together to form a near-perfect system.

    In the Eastern Pacific, alone and secluded like the islands of Hawaii, the guided-missile destroyer functions like a small town; independent and self-sustaining, but not without leadership.

    The workforce aboard the ship is comprised of nearly 300 enlisted Sailors and 50 officers. While the most senior officer is in charge of the ship as a whole, the most senior enlisted Sailor is responsible for the well-being of every person junior to them.

    Josephine Tauoa is no ordinary senior enlisted leader. Serving aboard USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), she is the U.S. Navy’s first female Samoan Command Master Chief.

    “I would have never thought I would be the first,” said Tauoa. “Women in general have come a long way. Seeing all the different people make it to this point can be very motivating.”

    Joining in the late 90’s, Tauoa enlisted as a Machinist Mate, a male-dominated rate. A modern-day trailblazer, she’s been proving her worth for the last 24 years.

    “In the beginning of my career, I dealt with a lot of male egos,” said Tauoa. “When we’d start our work days and divvy up the jobs, I always felt like I was getting the cleaning jobs. I would talk to the supervisors and be like, ‘why am I always cleaning? Is it because I’m a female?’ I even had a few guys tell me that a female shouldn’t be a machinist mate. It was always a challenge.”

    Tauoa wasn’t always welcome by some. Instead of feeling defeated, she used that doubt as motivation to prove herself amongst her peers.

    “It was always a problem for someone else because they didn’t think I could do the job they did,” said Tauoa. “It pushed me to work a lot harder. Once people got to know me and realized I wouldn’t be the one to say ‘no’ to a job and that I would put myself in situations to help them, they got more comfortable.”

    As someone progresses through the ranks, they take on more and more responsibility. The moment when a person first dons their anchors and becomes a chief, their role as a Sailor changes forever. After 17 years of hard work, Tauoa promoted to chief petty officer.

    “When I made chief, I was put in charge of running a plant,” said Tauoa. “I had a lot of Sailors that had issues. To sit down and have conversations and them being able to come talk to me about a lot of things; I stopped thinking about myself at that point and started thinking for them.”

    Tauoa said that the opportunity to help Sailors motivated her to continue even further. Despite having family issues back home in American Samoa, she managed to find a way to both continue to help Sailors and help herself. Since Hawaii was around a six-hour flight away from her home, she set her sights on being stationed there.

    Unfortunately, as a senior chief machinist mate, she didn’t have very many options on smaller ships. She did however get the chance to be stationed aboard the Pearl Harbor-based guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 93) as the ship’s 3MC. There she would get her first real experience as a senior enlisted leader.

    “On Halsey, anytime the CMC would go on leave, she would talk to the captain and they’d let me take the seat,” said Tauoa. “As an engineer, I was used to dealing with engineers. Being in the CMC seat on a DDG, you deal with every Sailor. Seeing Sailors of different rates and starting to understand what they do on a daily basis was an amazing experience.”

    Though she had her challenges, being able to help Sailors on the ship motivated her to submit a command master chief package.

    Once she heard the news about her upcoming promotion, she saw an opportunity to fulfil one of her dreams.

    “After I read up on the history of Chung-Hoon and saw that he was a Pacific Islander, I always wanted to get stationed aboard,” said Tauoa. “When I was selected for CMC, there were two ships available; Chung-Hoon and Wayne E. Meyer. I called the detailer and he said the Chung-Hoon was getting ready to deploy and Wayne E. Meyer was going in the yards. I said ‘that’s fine, I’ll take the Chung-Hoon’ because it’s always been a dream of mine.”

    All her hard work has come down to this point, where she has made Naval history.

    “To be able to come here as a CMC on a pacific islander ship and to be the first female Samoan CMC;” said Tauoa, “I couldn’t believe it lined up. It’s an accomplishment that I’m proud of, but I have to be able to use it to help someone else. It’s never truly about me. It’s more a big deal for me to be in this position to help Sailors.”

    Being a part of the U.S. Navy is no easy task. Sailors around the world have various jobs and missions to accomplish. The CMC role isn’t one for the faint of heart. A CMC must be there for their Sailors and make sure they’re taken care of on all fronts.

    “In today’s Navy, I know there’s a lot more resources to offer, but the best resource is to be able to have a frank and open conversation with our Sailors,” said Tauoa. “It’s important because our biggest asset in the military are the people. If the Sailor isn’t okay, the job doesn’t get done. It’s important that Sailors are healthy and in a good mental state.”

    Tauoa said the idea of service and family is a big part of the Samoan culture and that plays a big part in how she approaches her life in the Navy.

    “It’s important to be of service to others because it shows how much someone cares for another,” said Tauoa.

    While her accomplishment of being the first female Samoan CMC doesn’t go unnoticed, Tauoa continues to stress the importance of putting Sailors first.

    “I’ve been asked if there was anything I would do differently in my career,” said Tauoa. “I say absolutely not. I would change nothing.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 08.19.2020
    Date Posted: 10.14.2020 18:37
    Story ID: 380905
    Location: PEARL HARBOR, HI, US 

    Web Views: 336
    Downloads: 6

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